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City fees increase by $3 million

September 04, 2003

Jenny Marder

The city will pull in between $2 million and $3 million in new fees

each year with a mass of fee increases approved by the City Council

on Tuesday night.

The new funds will help balance the 2003-04, which was about $1.2

million short, and $1.8 million will bring the general fund reserve

back up to 7%, City Administrator Ray Silver said.

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Of the new fees, an estimated $1 million will come from Public

Works, $700,000 from the Police Department, $550,000 from the

Planning Department, $200,000 from the Fire Department, $200,000 from

Community Services, and $20,000 from the City Clerk's office.

Fees stayed the same in the city treasurer's office the

departments of Building and Safety and Economic Development, and the

library.

Councilwoman Jill Hardy, who studied the new fee scale carefully,

said that none of the fees struck her as excessive.

"A lot of these fees had not been increased in over 10 years," she

said. "Many of them are still under what we could justify."

Room rentals at Edison and Murdy community centers jumped from $5

per hour to $10 per hour. Instructional classes and art classes at

community centers and at the senior center rose from $4 a class to $5

a class.

The costs to join sports teams have also increased. The cost to

join a slow-pitch baseball team, for example, has increased 11%, from

$375 to $420.

The junior lifeguard fee went from $410 last year for residents

and nonresidents to $475 for residents and $510 for nonresidents.

In the Police Department, the fee to get a vehicle out of impound

went from $50 to $115. The cost of a temporary alcohol beverage

review, for special events went from $79 to $93, and the cost of

police map books went from $5 to $14, Chief Kenneth Small said.

"Being competitive means that we're at a reasonable price and not

over it, but that we charge a price that's worth the effort that we

put into it," Hardy said.

The council did nix some fee changes that seemed exceptionally

high, such as a recommendation that the special events fee be hiked

from $100 to $1,100. The council decided that the cost should vary

depending on the size and services required for the event.

For example, a surf contest will require a different amount of

staff time than the annual duck-a-thon, Boardman said.

Some of the biggest fee increases are for services that are rarely

used, Finance Officer Dan Villella said. The fee for high-rise

inspections, for example, went from $297 to $1,203.

"But we only did seven of them last year, and we might only do

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